Office to Prevent and End Homelessness

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday

703-324-9492
TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 942
Fairfax, VA 22035

Thomas Barnett,
Deputy Director

Point-in-Time Count

Fairfax County, in coordination with the surrounding Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, conducted its 2021 Point-In-Time Count of individuals and families experiencing homelessness on January 27, 2021. This highly coordinated effort provides critical data on the numbers of Fairfax County residents living in shelters, in time-limited transitional housing programs as well as those unsheltered and living on the street in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. There were 1,222 people experiencing homelessness in Fairfax County on the night of the 2021 Point-in-Time Count. This is an increase of 17 percent (181 people) from the 2020 Point-in-Time Count, in which there were 1,041 people identified as experiencing homelessness. The increase is primarily attributable to the increase in the community's capacity to provide shelter with increased federal emergency funding associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the commendable efforts of service providers to care for unstably housed community members.

The Point-in-Time count dashboard (see below) includes:

  • The total number of people identified as experiencing homelessness between the 2005 and 2021 Point-in-Time Counts;
  • The Point-in-Time Count demographics between 2017 and 2021; and
  • The shelter and housing capacity compiled as part of the Housing Inventory Counts conducted between 2005 and 2021.

Tips:

  • For full screen view, CLICK HERE.
  • Data can be viewed by different characteristics such as year, population, or project type.
  • Note, there are three screens of data available; click the ">" below to advance to each screen

 

What is the Point-in-Time Count?

The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is a count of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires Continuums of Care across the country to conduct this annual count of people experiencing homelessness, which includes people in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and safe havens as well as those experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Each count is planned, coordinated, and carried out locally.

Why is the Point-in-Time Count conducted?

Point-in-time counts provide a snapshot of the number of people experiencing homelessness, which frames the dimensions of the problem of homelessness and helps policymakers and program administrators track progress toward the goal of ending homelessness. The first of these counts was conducted across the country starting in 2005. HUD uses information from the local point-in-time counts, among other data sources, in the congressionally-mandated Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR). This report informs Congress about the number of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. and the effectiveness of HUD’s programs and policies in decreasing those numbers. (For more information: What is a Point-in-Time Count? - National Alliance to End Homelessness)

Who conducts the Point-in-Time Count?

Conducting the enumeration requires extensive efforts by a wide range of community partners, involving dozens of staff from public and private nonprofit organizations that work with people experiencing homelessness in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. Approximately 100 individuals are trained annually to conduct the count and utilize the Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) and other comparable databases to record the results of the PIT Survey. In the most recent Point-in-Time Count, 12 agencies reported data from more than 40 projects, which was unduplicated to produce the final totals.

For additional information, please visit National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) website.

What is the Housing Inventory Count?

The Housing Inventory Count (HIC) is a point-in-time inventory of provider programs within a Continuum of Care that provide beds and units dedicated to serve people experiencing homelessness and, for permanent housing projects, were homeless at entry, per the HUD homeless definition. Emergency shelter, transitional housing, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, and other permanent housing projects are included in the Housing Inventory Count.

The Housing Inventory Count provides the Shelter and Housing Capacity. When compared to the Point-in-Time Count, it helps to tell the story of how the capacity impacts homelessness. In the most recent Housing Inventory Count, 14 agencies reported capacity data for more than 100 projects.

Key Findings of the 2021 Point-in-Time Count

  • Total Count: There were 1,222 people experiencing homelessness in Fairfax County on the night of the 2021 Point-in-Time Count. This is an increase of 17 percent (181 people) from the 2020 Point-in-Time Count, in which there were 1,041 people identified as experiencing homelessness. The increase is primarily attributable to the increase in the community's capacity to provide shelter with increased federal emergency funding associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the commendable efforts of service providers to care for unstably housed community members. A summary discussion of the account follows, with details provided in the attached report.
     
  • Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic: Due to the addition of temporary non-congregate shelters in hotels, established as part of the response to COVID-19, the total emergency shelter capacity increased by 33 percent between 2020 and 2021. The addition of temporary non-congregate shelters contributed to a decrease of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, as well as the mitigation of the spread of the virus among the homeless population. There were 57 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness during the 2021 Point-in-Time Count (5 percent of the total 2021 PIT Count) compared to 88 people the previous year (8 percent of the total 2020 PIT Count).
     
    • Subpopulations
      - Chronic Homelessness: There were 180 people reported to be experiencing chronic homelessness during the 2020 Point-in-Time Count (25 percent of total adults counted) and 327 people reported to be experiencing chronic homelessness during the 2021 Point-in-Time Count (35 percent of the total adults counted). The increase is also reflected in increases in people experiencing substance use disorders, serious mental illness, physical disabilities, and/or chronic health problems.

      - Veterans: There were 33 people that identified as veterans during the 2020 Point-in-Time Count (5 percent of total adults counted) and 48 people that identified as veterans during the 2021 Point-in-Time Count (also 5 percent of the total adults counted).

      - Transition Age Youth (18-24): There were 95 transition aged youth (persons between the ages of 18 and 24) identified during the 2020 Point-in-Time Count (13 percent of total adults counted) and 91 transition aged youth identified during the 2021 Point-in-Time Count (10 percent of the total adults counted).

      - Survivors of Domestic Violence: There were 95 households identified as currently fleeing domestic violence and 191 households that reported a history of domestic violence during the 2020 Point-in-Time Count (14 percent and 28 percent of total households counted). There were 97 households identified as currently fleeing domestic violence and 183 households that reported a history of domestic violence during the 2021 Point-in-Time Count (11 percent and 21 percent of total households counted).
       
    • Demographics
      - Race: The most significant disparity in the demographics continues to be the disproportionate representation of people identifying as Black or African American. Although only 10 percent of the general population in Fairfax County identifies as Black or African American, 51 percent of people experiencing homelessness on the night of the 2021 Point-in-Time Count identified as Black or African American.

      - Age: There were 34 individuals (4 percent of the total adults) over the age of 70 experiencing homelessness on the night of the 2021 Point-in-Time Count, the oldest of which was 96. This is an increase from previous Point-in-Time Counts over the past five years in which only 2 percent of the adults included in the Counts were over the age of 70.
       
  • Annual Point-in-Time Count Increases: After a steady reduction of people experiencing homelessness on the night of the Point-in-Time Counts between the 2008and 2017, a decrease of 47 percent (871 people), the number of people experiencing homelessness identified through the Point-in-Time Counts has increased over the past five consecutive years. There were 964 people experiencing homelessness on the night of the 2017 Point-in-Time Count and 1,222 people experiencing homelessness on the night of the 2021 Point-in-Time Count, an increase of 27 percent (258 people).

 

Council of Governments (COG) PIT Report

The regional Point-in-Time Count results from the nine metropolitan Washington area jurisdictions are compiled in a Report prepared by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee. The Homeless Enumeration Report provides a one-night “snapshot” of the region’s residents experiencing homelessness as well as a narrative from each participating jurisdiction, including Fairfax County, detailing the results of the local 2021 Point-in-Time Counts.

 

Fairfax Virtual Assistant